Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Thu Jan 29 15:05:53 2004
Dolphin Cave

The dolphin swims .. desperate for air... it has gone too far from the surface, it needs to breathe... but cannot go back in time.. so it desperately forges forward, hoping... panic begins to set in.. but it's not logical, does not help. Safety is gone, no fallbacks.. Another minute passes, things begin to turn red.. and some strange thoughts enter its head... a cloud... parts of the mind wander... did you know that dolphins can sleep half of their brain at a time? Can humans with a callosotomy do the same? And it still moves forward... and then... a glimmer.. that special shine of diffraction.. the dolphin swims upward, in its mind, inside a larger dolphin, head of a parade, perhaps... it breaks the surface... dazed, and sanity slowly returns. A pocket of air, a dolphin cave... it's there for the dolphin's eyes... and after its head clears and it catches it's breath.. it moves on, a new home base, back with a safety net again.

Safety nets, the knowledge that despite our temporary ventures and their possibility of failure, we'll be ok and life will go on if we fail, if we just give a signal or make a turn and return to smooth living, they're very important, I think, for living a normal life.. when they're cut, and we're in that other mode, we might behave very differently, being more fragile, more fierce, a lion made of glass. We can extend our safety net to our housepets, make them part of the smooth path we can make for ourselves.. 'do or die' is something a lot of us may never experience, or remember when we do, an unpleasant sensation of urine trickling down the leg, but it's ok .. no, it's not ok, but it doesn't matter right now. Life outside the domes.... when people step outside justice, or into a dangerous area, kidnapped, or facing the harshest sides of humanity.

In my psych class today, we talked about ways of getting detailed information on problem-solving.. particularly, detailed semi-subjective methods. One set of methods is described in a book called Protocol Analysis, suggesting having people speak their thoughts as they perform their tasks, and this is shown to eliminate most of the subjective effects for nonspatial types of tasks. I had an idea for another method -- subject to selection bias and limits of knowledge of the human brain's limits, it may be possible to ask programmers to, given a restrictive programming language designed to be like the mind, program the task in the most natural way possible. I'd need to develop it further before I could try it, but it's interesting that methods could be developed and tested in mostly the same way that hypotheses can..

We also end up using something called E-prime. It's a good system to do some types of experiments, but it's incredibly expensive. I'd like to make an open-source clone (gnu-Prime, maybe?).. Looking at it, the nontrivial, nonsystem things it does are syncing to video refresh rates and possibly interacting with custom hardware. To clone, we'd want gnuPrime to be able to run ePrime scripts... The language appears to be a BASIC variant, and I do have enough sample scripts that, even lacking a language reference, I could probably write an interpreter. I wonder if anyone's done this yet.

I recently had my memory of Mitochondria, from high-school biology, pop into my head.. Two interesting things.. first, they have their own DNA, and secondly and consequently, they're effectively seperate but necessary symbiotes that live in all animal cells. In most animals, including humans, during conception, the egg cells destroy the mitochondria from the sperm cell, giving rise to an unbroken line in most species of unbroken female heredity, and thus the concept of (human and otherwise)Mitochondrial Eve.

Here's a guide to slacking. Be lazy and don't read it. Apparently, the conclusion of most inspectors is that Iraq lacked the weapons the U.S. invaded it to save people from. Of course, as it's a national pride issue, and a political face issue, BushJr is unable to just say oops, and so has been hastily been moving to other, weaker reasons to have invaded Iraq. No, BushJr, you don't get to do that. If you call someone a liar, and give them a timeframe to turn over evidence they have something, and invade when they don't turn up evidence that they did it, and depose them, no, you don't get to call it a victory when it turns out that they were honest all along, and the big deal you were making over them lying and having the stuff was simply wrong. It doesn't matter if he was a rotten guy -- you gave us your reasons, and you don't get to change them later out of political convenience. Let everyone remember why the war was fought, and the standoff before it over weapons inspections not finding anything. More than that, let's realize what kind of weaseling is happening now. Remember too, that Al Queda is unrelated to and far more dangerous than Hussein. Iraq, I believe, never posed a threat to the United States.

Here's some LoTR silliness. It reminds me of MC Hawking. I think Hawking really must have an interesting life -- I read a bio of him at one point, but thinking about it, I think his illness, as unfortunate as it is, has made him a huge figure in the public mind, as much as his work has done so. From his appearances on Conan to his popular books and MC Hawking, he's brought a good name to science, and is, I think, respected by academes/intellectuals and others alike.

Oh, and just so you know, Limecat is not pleased.

I came across this interesting Christian to Muslim conversion story. It seems substantially similar in content to what a lot of people go through when they're born again. Is it just the Abrahamic religions that have this kind of tense conversions? What do Buddhist conversions look like? Wiccan? They're 'softer' religions, so I suspect their kind of conversion is shaped differently.